Joe Jonas recently opened up about his experience as a “Disney” kid.
Maybe there’s nothing surprising here… but read on.
“Being a part of a company like [Disney] comes with certain expectations. Not overtly, but there was a subtle vibe. We were working with Disney in 2007 when the Vanessa Hudgens nude-photo scandal happened. We heard that she had to be in the Disney offices for a whole day because they were trying to figure out how to keep her on lockdown. We’d hear execs talking about it, and they would tell us that they were so proud of us for not making the same mistakes, which made us feel like we couldn’t ever mess up. We didn’t want to disappoint anyone—our parents, our fans, our employers—so we put incredible pressure on ourselves, the kind of pressure that no teenager should be under. We were just kids. That’s the reality. We were frightened little kids. So you got all this responsibility that’s foisted upon you and you’re expected to be perfect. … [But] being a part of the Disney thing for so long will make you not want to be this perfect little puppet forever. Eventually, I hit a limit and thought, Screw all this, I’m just going to show people who I am. I think that happened to a lot of us. Disney kids are spunky in some way, and I think that’s why Disney hires them. ‘Look, he jumped up on the table!’ Five, six, 10 years later, they’re like, “Oh! What do we do?” Come on, guys. You did this to yourselves. The first time I smoked weed was with Demi [Lovato] and Miley [Cyrus]. I must have been 17 or 18. They kept saying, ‘Try it! Try it!’ so I gave it a shot, and it was all right. … I was caught drinking when I was 16 or 17, and I thought the world was going to collapse.”
—24-year-old Joe Jonas, in an extensive interview published at vulture.com about his and his brothers’ rise to fame as the Jonas Brothers [vulture.com, 12/1/13]
Jonas also added that much of this began because he was “used to growing up in public. I was a pastor’s kid, so eyes were always on me, even then. I sat in the first pew of the church, and I had to wear a suit every Sunday, because my parents wanted me to be this role model that I didn’t always want to be.”
So… let’s sidestep the time we can spend deconstructing the Disney machine here. (In fact, it may be worth noting that not every Disney star feels the same way he does/did). I will add that you should Jonas’ other personal reflections about church, religion, purity rings and more. It’s an eye opener, especially if you plan on promoting someone as an “example” to your students to look up to.
Let’s also pause chatter on how senior pastors aren’t parenting their kids like they should, “blah blah blah.”
Instead, I’d offer you a question as a youth worker…
What are the high-end expectations that we might unknowingly put on youth group kids that cause them to shine today but explode later?
And… if you have the courage and raw honesty to answer this..
What are the high-end expectations that YOU might unknowingly put on youth group kids that cause them to shine today but explode later?
I’ll answer, too.
How about you get the conversation started?